Reef’s Guardian will be here soon!
Sep 7, 2011 Filed under: book release, D/s, erotica, excerpts, m/m, paranormal, shapeshifter
Brett Leland serves as the director of an underwater research station located near one of the world’s last healthy coral reefs. His life’s work is focused on protecting the reef and discovering why it has remained healthy as others are failing. But his university plans to sell the research station, and someone is trying to sabotage his final mission.
Setiwan Maramis is one of the legendary shape shifting guardians of the reef. He’s been watching Brett since the scientist first came to the station, and he wants Brett as both an ally and a lover. He is forbidden to reveal himself to humans, but when an enemy puts Brett’s life in danger, Setiwan follows his heart rather than the dictates of his people.
“We can’t destroy the station.” Setiwan paced the length of his father’s office. Being on land too long always made him restless. He needed to get back in the water that afternoon even if only for a swim.
His father shook his head. “If the station falls into the Stanley Corp’s hands, we’ll have no choice.”
Seti fought the urge to yell. Why wouldn’t anyone listen to him? “If we fund a research team, the university won’t sell it.”
“Possibly. They may simply want to be rid of the burden.”
Seti sank heavily into one of the upholstered chairs in front of his father’s desk. He glanced out the window but from this angle a matrix of tall buildings blocked his view of the beach and the ocean beyond. “There are still enough humans who care about the environment to raise an uproar. The academics don’t need more bad press. Not if they can get the money elsewhere, at least that’s what Dr. Leland thinks.”
His father arched a brow. “You seem quite enamored of Dr. Leland.”
Heat crept into Setiwan’s face. He didn’t want to discuss his interest in the researcher with his father. “He’s an excellent scientist, and he’s passionate about reef conservation. He would help us protect the reef.”
His father frowned. “He’s human.”
“So are most of the people who work for you.”
“They’re in our land-based offices, not on the reef. If we let the humans work with us underwater, they are certain to learn our secrets and that –”
“Is forbidden by Guardian law.” Setiwan just managed to keep from rolling his eyes. “I know. You’ve been quoting these laws to me since I was a toddler. When those laws were made, the current levels of pollution and climate change were unimaginable.”
Setiwan’s father sighed. “True, but I can’t make a unilateral decision to change our protocols.”
Setiwan squeezed his hands into fists. Why was his father so damn reluctant to take charge? “Who can change the policy if not you? You’re one of the most respected and powerful Guardians. You’re in a position to fund research which could help the reef and even transform other reefs whose Guardians have renounced their duties.”
“I will not simply ignore the laws that have guided our people for centuries.”
But he could if he wanted to. Few Guardians had even half his power or his business sense. He’d started ExploreSafe and made it into an internationally respected company providing environmentally friendly equipment for diving and marine research. His father still worked out of the original office in Indonesia, but they now had offices in Australia, Japan, and the US. His father wanted the Guardians to have resources and contacts in the human world. Why wouldn’t he use those now?
His father tapped a pen against his desk. Setiwan looked up, his attention back on the man in front of him. His father spoke again. “Imagine what would happen if knowledge of our abilities got out.”
Setiwan frowned. That would be disastrous. He could see the headlines now, ExploreSafe CEO Practices Witchcraft, Businessman Claims He Can Change Form. And yet, what choice did they have if they were going to save their reef? “We have no way of knowing how much worse the situation will get. We may reach a point where we no longer have the power to keep our reef healthy. My energy is drained daily simply from counteracting the effects of pollutants and overly warm waters.”
His father tapped the end of a pen on his desk, a rare show of agitation. “What exactly are you asking me to do?”
“I want you to give the university enough funding to keep the station running and let their researchers work hand in hand with us to protect our reef and others in the region.”
His father frowned. “I can’t promise you that, not without more evidence that these researchers are trustworthy.”
Setiwan barely kept himself from grinning. His father hadn’t said no. He was actually considering his idea. What his father didn’t know was that Seti had extensive knowledge about Brett Leland’s research as well as the work of other research teams who’d spent time on the station.
Every time a new group of scientists arrived, Seti waited until they were all asleep and entered the station through the moon pool. He checked on the animals they’d taken from the reef and read through their records to ascertain their research goals. If their test subjects weren’t being properly cared for or their motives weren’t pure, he made sure little things went wrong, nothing to harm the humans but enough to hassle them and make them less likely to want to return.
The last time Brett Leland had come below, Setiwan took his explorations further. He’d crept into the station’s bunk room and watched Brett sleep. He couldn’t explain why the man called to him, but he hadn’t been able to stop himself from leaning down and brushing the man’s lips with his own. Brett had groaned, a low soft sound that had Seti stroking his cock and wishing he dared take his explorations further.
“I’ll go on board and talk to them.” Setiwan’s heart pounded. No other Guardian would dare make such a statement to his father. Hiding from humans while underwater was the number one Guardian law.